4-time Grand Slam champion Iga Swiatek has been the face of women’s tennis over the last few years. After the retirement of World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, she became the first Polish player, male or female, to reach the top ranking in singles, on April 4, 2022. She held the spot for 75 consecutive weeks before conceding it to Aryna Sabalenka after the recently concluded US Open.
The World No.2 recapped her journey on the sidelines of the WTA 500 Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan. Swiatek said that she didn’t expect this kind of success when she was young. “What I have done since 2020 is pretty crazy. It is hard for me sometimes to even understand how it happened, because when I was younger I didn’t know it was going to be possible for me,” she said.
Swiatek has had a major part of her Grand Slam success at the French Open, much like her hero Rafael Nadal. She won her first Grand Slam there, in 2020. Since then, she has gone on to lift two more trophies at the clay courts of Paris, including one this year. Swiatek has struggled on the grass courts and her highest finish at the Wimbledon came this year as she lost at the Quarter Final stage.
The 22-year-old Polish pro has made a name for herself for not giving away easy points and for a strong mentality. She has described her style of play on clay as “a big serve, topspin, and backhand down the line”.
Iga Swiatek calls Rafael Nadal her hero as she praises his attitude
In an interview with Porsche Tennis, Swiatek called Nadal as her hero and hailed him for his values. “When I played my first junior Grand Slam at the age of 15, it became clear that Rafael Nadal is one of my heroes. He never gives up, he represents the right values, & he’s kept his feet on the ground. He’s still the same even though he’s so successful. That’s what I particularly like about him,” she said.
Next up, Swiatek is scheduled to play in the Tokyo Open. Seeded first in the tournament, she plays Japanese pro Mai Hontama in the Round of 16. This will be her first appearance since her round of 16 defeat to Jelena Ostapenko. The Latvian boasts an impressive 4-0 win streak over the 4-time Grand Slam champion.
Swiatek also qualified for the year-end WTA Finals to be played in Cancun, Mexico. She has won joint-most 4 titles this year and leads the WTA tour in match wins with 56 to her name (Win/loss-56/10). She has won 2 WTA 500 titles, in addition to winning her home event at the WTA 250 BNP Paribas Warsaw Open.
Angira Shah is the Content Writer for the Tennis department at FirstSportz. Studying BE Computer Science at BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus, this is his first experience of the content writing world.
Angira's favorite part of the game is the opportunity to play. Therefore, he took the opportunity offered by FirstSportz to materialise his interest in the game of Tennis. He's a huge FC Barcelona, Messi and Nadal fan.
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